This collection of more than thirty memoirs, oral histories, and letters, enriched by three insightful essays, is the companion volume to the exhibit “Daring to Resist,” but it easily stands on its own as a compendium of daring and expressions of resistance: physical, spiritual, literary, and artistic. There were those who resisted by continuing to honor God and to maintain their faith and belief in Jewish spiritual values as described in “Sanctifying Life and God’s Name” and by never abandoning their faith — Rabbi Leo Baeck, Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, the young Moshe Flinker. Others resisted with art, by continuing to teach, to compose music, to observe Jewish holidays, and by maintaining love of their fellow Jews. Some tried to leave a record, to witness in writing what was happening, notably Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum; others by drawings and photographs. Resistance took many forms. Ordered not to educate, secret classes were given; concerts were held; newsletters were published; art was made. People were rescued; there was armed resistance and rebellion in some ghettos; there were death camp uprisings. And, of course, there were the partisans and armed resistance, despite the consequences for the Jewish community.
Essayist David Engel tries to explain why not all Jews fled, as he writes about the difficulty Jews had in divorcing themselves from historical instances of cruelty and oppression and to realize that this, the Third Reich, was without parallel to anything that had happened to Jews throughout their history. Yitzhak Mais traces the creative Jewish responses to offset the Nazis actions against the Jews — new Jewish schools, Youth Zionist groups, concert halls, etc.. He also discusses the Jewish misapprehensions of the Nazi era due to their memories of the more gentlemanly behavior of German soldiers in World War I to civilians. In discussing the Jewish gullibility regarding deportations — who could have envisioned the truth and what other choices were available to them? Eva Fogelman writes about those who blame the victim — (“well, why did you stay? Why didn’t you fight back?” and “How did YOU survive,” as in what did you do to survive?) Illustrated with photographs and drawings. Inspirational for bright teens and college students.